A closely watched measure of Australian business confidence rose in the first quarter, a sign the economy was back on track after a solid rebound at the end of 2016.
The National Australia Bank (NAB) business confidence indicator climbed by one point to plus 6 in the March quarter, on a scale where a reading above zero indicates improving conditions. The business confidence indicator edged down one point in the fourth quarter.
NAB’s quarterly survey is based on primary consultations with around 1,000 businesses across Australia. The survey has a monthly and quarterly edition, and is used to gauge managers’ views on business and the overall economy.
The Australian economy is undergoing a period of transition away from primary industries toward sectors like education, infrastructure and technology. Analysts say this could be a source of strength for the world’s twelfth largest economy, which is seen as a more transparent destination for global investors looking to diversify in the Asia-Pacific region.
Goldman Sachs, a U.S. multinational investment bank, is seeking to double its spending on principal investments in the country. For Goldman, the time to invest is now as Australia slowly decouples from commodity-industry dominance.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently tipped the Australian economy to grow a healthy 3.1% this year after a 2.5% expansion in 2016. The Washington-based lending institution expects the unemployment rate to dip to 5.2% from the current 5.9% rate.